Friday, May 24, 2013

Never thought this would happen to me

Here I sit, frozen on the couch. Every so often, I start to hyperventilate. I'm sitting in my pjs, quietly freaking out, not able to focus on much. I cycle through panic attacks every few hours. I am losing my mind. Thank goodness our new work computers were delivered over the weekend and renders my at home access useless. I attempted to log on for an hour before choosing to take a sick day and catching up on the 7th season of Psych. Last week, I had a bad mammogram. They needed to redo it to check on a spot. The second mammogram didn't clear up the first. It was on to the ultrasound, which, of course, is NOT covered by my insurance company. The tech couldn't find what she was looking for, so the dr came in. She couldn't rule anything out, so I was told I need a biopsy. Thankfully, I was able to get an appointment less than a week later. Yesterday was that day. The biopsy itself was a piece of cake. Since I chose not to get a breast surgeon first, the radiologist ran the show. She was awesome beyond words. The procedure was relatively painless. The hard part? Waiting. I have to wait five days for results. What are the chances I have cancer? 36%. Yes, I am a nerd. I researched the bi-rad categories and studied the possibilities. There is a chance. And that possibility brings me back to Karen in 2007, which paralyzes me. I can't even put into words how scared I am. I can't even imagine how scared Karen was. I don't feel I can share what I am going through with anyone until I know for a fact what is going on. I don't want to have so many open questions to deal with. I've closed as many questions as I could, thanks to the medical staff and google, but there are so many more questions I have. I can't talk to anyone who will come in contact with my kids because I don't want the kids to pick up on pity faces. I can't let the kids know what's going on because S won't understand and Trinks will think the worst. Hubs doesn't know what to do, but he did run out for emergency chocolate supplies last night. That works for me. So I'm going to do what I need to do. I'm going to save this in drafts and hope I don't need to dust it off and post it on Friday when I get my results. Well, it's now Friday and I know I don't have cancer. I still wanted to post this so I can remember what I went through. I have to have a follow up mammogram in 6 months, and then annually forever. Am I going to have another biopsy? Probably. Am I at risk to develop cancer? As far as I can tell, my risk is now elevated. I have about 5 pages of notes and research, so at least I have a jump on next time. A glass of wine. And then some time to figure out how to do a second opinion.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Banana Pancakes!!

This AM, I made banana pancakes. I am cuurently in the middle of a 30 day challenge, which I will detail later, so this choice for breakfast is nothing short of odd. I took two small bananas and whipped them with 3 eggs in the Vitamix. I added some cinnamon and cooked them up. Once done, I topped them with butter and some real maple syrup that the kids brought back from Quebec. Yum!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Catch up

Well – I haven’t been back like I thought. I had to wrap up school, finish scouts (although with the aggressive summer Scout programs this year, I will never be done with either Scout!), write a final paper, and take a final (for a nice A- for the class). Phew! I was so exhausted from the stress of it all that when the worst was over, I sat on the couch and DID NOTHING all night. I played some Castle Wolfenstein, checked Facebook, and microwaved Hebrew National hot dogs because I couldn’t wait for Hubs to finish mowing the grass and grill. I was completely brain dead. But, I have been having a blast making my own toiletries. When last I wrote about these things, I had made some toothpaste. It no longer tastes like crap to me and I love it! I get creative with flavors – citrus mint, peppermint, clove and cinnamon, the possibilities are endless. So far, the dental appointments have been great. Of course, I don’t tell the dentist what I do. The kids may tell him that I occasionally brush with charcoal. It kind of scared them when they walked in on me and a black mouth. I think it’s removing stains from my teeth and it doesn’t taste like anything at all. Clean up sucks, because it sticks to everything. I have made my own vapor rub – amazing!! Lip balm – also great! I added beeswax to my last batch of deodorant and while it gives the deodorant a solid, manageable aspect, I think I added too much and it’s a little sticky. Still works, so I won’t worry about it. I think I am most proud of my sunscreen. It is SPF 30 and survived a test of 90 degree heat in Washington DC, with no shade. I didn’t even reapply. I did get color, but I wasn’t burned. I love the sunscreen so much that I use it as regular hand cream. S is allergic to commercial SPF, so having a product without the harmful chemicals is great. I tried it on him and there was no reaction! I have been playing with the lotion bars for a bit and gave them out to some testers. I may even start selling the stuff. It would be a side hustle to fund exotic vacations, but it could be fun. Stay tuned!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Break's over

Well, it's been a while. Unfortunately I passed the celiac test, meaning it was negative. People take you seriously when you can pinpoint an allergy or disease. I just plain can't tolerate gluten so I continue to stay away from it. Trinks needed some bloodwork, so I tested her. She is also negative. Her vitamin D levels are wonky, just very different from my very low ones. I'm not sure what it all means, but we can FINALLY fire the pediatrician. So what else? We went to the Bahamas, made it through the holidays, went back to Ocean City, MD, and took a trip to New Orleans. I went back to Michigan to see the other half of my team. Someone at work was wearing very heavy perfume, causing me to get so sick I was sent to the workmans comp doctor. After weeks/months of begging medical and HR to fix this, the woman sort of cut back. Then she started harassing me. Stress, stress, stress, stress. I can read between the lines and if I choose to pursue this, I will get fired. I really had big corporations!!! I'm still trying to do more paleo, but I keep getting derailed. I strung 11 days of grainfree bliss together and felt awesome. I have continued to string the grainfree days, but haven't made giant leap yet. Here's hoping. The kids continue to grow. As per usual, I am thrilled to be wrapping up all activities. Cub Scouts ended, last Girl Scouts is this week with a fly up ceremony on the weekend. School ends on Friday. It's going to be a great summer. I'll try to capture it all.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Prepping for celiac test

I went to the dr on Tuesday and got my script for celiac test. Do I think I have celiac? It's possible, but not probable. I just want to know. The problem is I have pretty much gluten free for a while, so in order for the test to be accurate, I have to add gluten back in my diet. I am in hell.

Everything I thought I missed tastes crappy. Granted, I am eating processed food like pizza, pretzels, and bread. I haven't had much processed stuff in the last year, so it's a dramatic change. I am counting the days until this test. The internet searches I've done indicate I need to eat the equivalent of 4 sliced of bread per day for three months. My response? FUCK NO.

In the four short days I have had gluten, my symptoms came screaming back. Rosacea? Check. Puffy face? Check. Exhaustion? Check. Muscle fatigue? Got it in spades. Aching joints? Absolutely. Feeling like there are bugs running around in my blood stream that are keeping me both hyper and unfocused? Oh yes. Asthma chest pains and shortness of breath? Got it.On Tuesday, my first gluten experience was pretzels. While I was eating them, my hands swelled up to the point that my rings were tight. Right before I ate the pretzels, my rings were so loose, that I was enjoying spinning them.

So I will continue to eat gluten until my team's potluck next week. I'm making my world famous pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and I would like to eat them one last time. And then I can get back to my almost grain free, protein and veggie filled lifestyle, no matter what the test says. I have a significant gluten issue that seems to be causing all of my autoimmune responses. If it turns out I have celiac, I have a script for Trinks to get tested. Then we can build the genetic tree. Fun.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Don't eat gluten and drive

I am sooooooo stupid. I went out to a great restaurant last night. I knew I had to be really careful because I had to drive around 2 hours home. I got oil and vinegar on my salad to avoid the hidden gluten. I asked if the chicken was breaded. I neglected to skip the sauce that went with the chicken Florentine. I ate half of it before I realized there was gluten in it. I wrapped the other half for hubs. The service dropped off after we finished eating, so we left without coffee and dessert. By the time I got on the road (slight detour to the outlets), I was feeling muscle fatigue in my arms. I made the stupid decision to skip Wawa for coffee so I could just get on the road. The closer I got to home, the harder it was to keep my eyes open.

Before I started paying attention to how my body reacted to certain foods, this was a normal reaction to dinner. Hubs would usually drive home if we went out because I couldn't focus. I haven't felt this level of fatigue since I eliminated gluten. The part of this that bothers me is now I know better. I should have grilled the waiter (politely, of course) and mentioned that I have a problem with gluten. I need to learn how to ask these questions. I also need to stick with grilled meat, no sauce.

This morning I felt like I had been run over by a truck. It took me a while to get moving, but this afternoon, I feel so much better. I am not exhausted. I had eggs and sausage for breakfast with my Ezekial bread. For lunch, hubs and I finished the leftover chili verde. Then I got into cooking and preparing meals for the week. I have my energy back and I'm not even tempted by the apple cider donuts I bought at the apple festival yesterday. Gluten free has become so much easier. I do plan to ask my dr to test me when I see her on 10/18. We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


We've been traveling so much and the kids have been to various camps across the county and state that I haven't paused to track what I'm doing. I've become more and more interested in the paleo/primal world. Essentially, you eat like our ancestors did - meat, veggies and some fruit. No grains. Sound hard? If I still ate bread, maybe. But bread and pasta and other grain products are easy for me to forget because of how they make me feel. I've been more or less gluten free since the beginning of June. I had pizza in Galway NY and a few bites of gluten products at dinner later that week. I was ok with the pizza, but the 2nd experience wasn't good. A few weeks later, I had a donut. HOLY CATS! I was so miserable. Stomach cramps, fatigue and joint pain. Nothing like a horrible reminder of how shitty I used to feel. I do my best to avoid eating gluten, but I may end up having to eat it again if I decide to get tested for celiac. The only reason I would want to be tested is so I can definitively tell people I have celiac. If I mention I am avoiding gluten, no one takes me seriously. I hate that you have to add gluten back in to get a true test. I really wouldn't be surprised if I have celiac.

But, going forward, I am planning to string as many grain free days together as possible. I don't plan to be extremely strict, but my breakfasts and lunches are always grain free. Occasionally, I'll have a grain with dinner. Last night I had a wonderful risotto with shrimp and pesto. Do I regret it? Nope. I made the choice. There were plenty of options on the menu and I decided I was ok with having the rice.

Before we went on vacation, I challenged hubs to avoid gluten. Gluten causes so much inflamation in the body. Inflamation causes chronic disease. Hubs has already dealt with the symptoms of chronic disease, but I am not convinced the source was ever dealt with. Since the worst that could happen is he lost a few pounds, he agreed. I now have him addicted to Lara Bars, but only the ones with coconut in them. He is interested in pursuing this eating style since he dropped 3 pounds in 3 days. I may eventually get him to agree to get 1/6 of a grass fed/grass finished cow.

I think the most interesting part of this journey is watching the kids. They are so supportive of me. Trinks has expressed interest in eating fewer sandwiches and exploring more gluten free options. She has stomach pains every once in a while and I do wonder if she inherited my issue. S asked hubs if chocolate cake had gluten in it before he offered me a taste of his dessert. We are just slowly moving over to a healthier life style. Hubs even banned juice from the house! I was so impressed, because I put juice in the same category as milk - unnecessary. Juice, even 100% juice has way more sugar than the kids need. I don't have enough space to write why I hate milk, and if I did, the milk lobby would come after me. But the kids decided to drink half a jug of juice that hubs bought that morning. He told them he wouldn't buy it anymore. I replaced juice boxes with thermoses of unsweetened herbal fruit tea. Thank goodness for Celestial Seasoning's line of fruit teas. So far so good.

Getting the family onboard is a big challenge for me. Although most of our dinners are from scratch and using whole, fresh ingredients, some days we just don't have then energy to cook. We used to run to Dominos every other month because their pizza is really good for the price. Now if we do that, I still have to figure out what I am going to eat. It's not a big deal, but I just need to focus on planning and making sure we have the right stuff in the house. With hubs on board, I need to make sure he has breakfast, lunch and snack options available. I am organizationally challenged, but I hope as we get deeper and deeper into this lifestyle, it will get easier. I like making my own food. I think hubs and I cook things better than moderately priced restaurants do. As with all change, it takes time. And there is no time like the present to make these changes.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My personal war against chemicals

As part of my journey towards health, I have learned a lot about how bad harsh chemicals are. I knew cleaners were bad, but I didn't realize how good simple vinegar and baking soda were. No harsh smells, and they get everything so clean!! I took a bizarre path when I read about making my own toothpaste.

I had just finished reading about how too much flouride causes osteoporosis. I figure that the amount of flouride I get from the gallons of tap water is sufficient. Then the next article I read was about homemade toothpaste. I had most of the ingredients, so I whipped up a batch. It tasted pretty nasty, but my teeth felt cleaner than when I went to the dentist! I was hooked. I added more peppermint oil and it tasted better, but still a little salty. I haven't used conventional toothpaste since I made it. It is awkward to put on a brush, but my teeth are so CLEAN!

My success with the toothpaste led to me make deoderant. I admit I didn't take it to Florida with me, but that's because the melting point for coconut oil is 76 degrees and I didn't want my container to leak. This stuff works so well! I used the second recipe and used arrowroot instead of corn starch. The only issue is it will detox the area and you may have 1-2 days of a detox rash. After that, everything is fine. My pits don't smell and I feel dry.

Next up is sunscreen, since most commercial brands are toxic. S is allergic to some of them, so I would like to find something better. Then I want to move on to bug spray. The big test of this will be our Galway trip. Mosquitos like to munch on us and we're tired of being the buffet. I'm having so much fun playing with this!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gluten free is lonely

I've been doing 80-90% gluten free. Obviously the weekdays are easier than weekends since I cook and prepare breakfast and lunch on Sundays and don't have to think too much on a daily basis. Traveling has messed me up since I haven't gotten the hang of traveling gluten free. Unrelated but interesting, I discovered I am allergic to bivalves. No great loss, but I can't get paella anymore. I think the problem I have is gluten is so undefined. It's the one allergy that is not required to show up on a food label because no one has defined what gluten is. Gluten is dusted on individually wrapped candies to make sure they don't stick to wrappers. Gluten is in salad dressing. It's in low fat dairy and many low fat products since they need to use crap to fill in the nutrients they remove when the create the low fat item. Ketchup, soy sauce and root beer contain gluten. Gluten can be called "modified food starch", hydrolized vegetable protein, malt, dextrins, and "natural flavoring".

The good news is most of the food items above are processed food and I shouldn't be eating them anyway. I've been making my own salad dressing for years. I make my own soup, eat very little low fat dairy (that's another post about the evils of the low fat diet), and I can't remember the last soda I drank. I hate ketchup and I've found gluten free soy sauce.

I think the best part of this long journey, which started before I realized gluten was killing me, is the impact to my immune system and allergies. I didn't get sick this year. No colds, no sinus infections. I haven't taken allergy medicine in 2 years. I used to snort Nasonex like it was going out of style. Now, I can get through allergy seaon without even sneezing. I also discovered that my blood pressure is finally coming down. For all my life, I had been a steady 110/70. Two years ago it started to creep up to 120/85. Not horrible, but not trending the way I want it. On Friday, in the middle of yet another workmans comp physical, my blood pressure was back to 112/78. I can live with that.

The real challenge in going gluten free is lack of education. Hubs is an awesome cook and he wouldn't do anything to hurt me. But, he thinks if he only puts a few breadcrumbs in a recipe, I will be fine. I won't be. I need the bread crumbs to be made from gluten free bread. From just a few breadcrumbs, I'll get stomach cramps and joint pain. I don't want anyone going out of their way to make me food - I really am fine. If I can't eat something, I simply won't eat it. I won't get mad. There are enough naturally gluten free foods that I can find.

Tomorrow I am going to test out some recipes from the Gluten Free Girl. Lemon olive oil cookies is up first. Then I'll find something from her beautiful cookbook. I bet I stain up the books before I return them to the library. I sense I'll buy both books this summer.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A bump in the road

I found out the hard way that xanthum gum is not my friend. I made gluten free pizza crust this weekend. It tasted pretty good. I chickened out about making it completely from scratch and purchased a mix. I had a headache Sunday night. Since I hadn't been a model of great eating, I assumed it was from some of the extra crap I ate. All day yesterday I had a migraine. Tonight I had the leftover pizza for dinner on my way to Girl Scouts. Raging headache on the way home. I had no gluten or sugar today, so the common denominator was the gum. I know I can't handle processed foods, so this really isn't a surprise. Xanthum gum apparently is a bacteria combined with corn sugars - why would anyone eat that??? I'll take a gluten reaction over a migraine any day. At least I'm learning. Slowly but surely, I am learning.